The biggest pleasure for the business or leisure traveller can come right at the start of the journey, packing a suitcase is part of the journey, after all, and to anyone who gets that thrill of anticipation when they hear those jet engines roar, then filling your bag with the thins you’re going to need over the next few days, weeks or months can be the real start of your experience.
Fashions in luggage design haven’t changed much – cheap Samsonite luggage has always been about protecting items, trying to keep clothes free from creases and providing a hard shell to keep the knocks and rolls of the journey from breaking fragile items. What has changed are the technologies used to do that protecting; and the outside design of the suitcases themselves.
Probably the longest-lasting fashion in luggage design, the telescopic handle has been helping travellers move across train station platforms and airport concourses for decades. Like everything else in the luggage industry, though, it has moved on in recent years. Now constructed from tough, light metal, the telescoping frame of the luggage handle allows the user to walk upright and drag a small case behind him or her without stopping. Its lightness means it has no direct effect on the weight limits imposed, for cabin baggage or hold luggage, by the airline.
Lightness is a big plus for any luggage item. The more the case itself weighs, the less the traveller can fit in before he or she begins to creep up to the threshold of the individual weight allowance.
Clearly, protection is a big issue, particularly for anyone looking for cheap Samsonite luggage (Samsonite is renowned for tough exterior cases, so if you’re looking for something that can withstand the shocks of travel that’s where you go first). But the harder something is (normally) the heavier it is. At what point, then, does the traveller sacrifice toughness for weight – or vice versa?
Modern trends in luggage design incorporate different materials and fibres – anything from toughened and varnished polyester to super light carbon shells. Polycarbonate is often used in cheap Samsonite luggage – the fabric is relatively cost effective (not as expensive as Kevlar, for example, though it is still more costly than a normal toughened shell) and it can be moulded as a single unit, which means the case isn’t likely to have any weak points.
The ability to mould an already hard material means the designers of high end luggage are able to incorporate known stable shapes into their shell design. For instance, inbuilding an indented latticework design (where the case is pressed looking like it has small indented squares on the face of it) can increase the overall rigidity of the item – plus making it more resistant to shocks and impacts delivered from all angles. The corner of another suitcase can put a sizeable dent in a flat surface – but is more likely to strike another corner if that surface is covered in indentations.
Polycarbonate mouldings also allow the designers of cheap Samsonite luggage to achieve a high shine – ideal for today’s fashion conscious market. Cast in a number of different colours, from hot pink to a shiny cosmic black, modern luggage is able to make a statement while it protects.
All of this is not exclusive to Samsonite, of course – there are other brands using polycarbonate moulds.
Jenny Arndale is a freelance luggage designer. In the past she has done designs for cheap Samsonite luggage.